Darien Public Schools

Superintendent Says Budget Cuts Would ‘Significantly Affect’ Education, Updates Parents on District News

Download PDF

Schools Superintendent Alan Addley, in a message to parents updating them on various developments in the district, said the budget cuts he’s been forced to recommend to the Board of Education would “significantly affect” the education of Darien students. Darienite.com has published the full message below and numbered the sections in Addley’s message to make it quicker for readers to find out more in the numbered topics below. Here are the other six topics covered in the long message:

—what the district will do in helping students better deal with concerns revolving around the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (7)

—how the district is going about planning for school reopenings and closings (6)

— how the district is regulating use of school campuses by summer school programs (4)

— regulations on other organizations may use school facilities (4)

—the coming end of grab-and-go meal distribution (2)

—summer school and extended school year plans (3)

—a short, general message with no details about graduation and moving-up ceremonies (1)

Regarding budget cuts (5), Addley said:

At the last BOE meeting, the Administration made recommendations to the Board of Education for consideration to close this gap. These included some very difficult choices that would significantly affect the quality of education.

Hindley School 4-27-16

Governor: School Buildings to Stay Closed for Rest of School Year

Download PDF

School buildings must be closed for the rest of the academic year to keep students and staff safe from COVID-19, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Tuesday morning. Online teaching will continue to take place, and take-out school lunch and breakfast programs must continue, the governor said. Lamont and state education officials will discuss the decision at the governor’s 4 p.m. news briefing. A decision on holding summer school is expected by the end of May, according to the announcement. Here’s the full text of Lamont’s announcement:

Gov. Ned Lamont today announced that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he is ordering in-person classes at all K-12 public school facilities in Connecticut to remain canceled for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year and continue providing distance learning during this period.

Letter to the Editor Farming

Board of Ed Chair: Thank You, District Teachers, Administrators and Staff

Download PDF

To the editor:

As a community Darien has proudly committed to the education of our children time and time again. We debate issues, we research new initiatives and techniques, and we talk about metrics, outcomes and mental health, all with the guiding principle that our children are best served to participate in our society when they are healthy, and have a strong educational framework. In this moment in time, when traditional education models have been re-invented, flipped and reimagined, with an immediacy that no one ever imagined, what has become most clear is that it is our human touch — our teachers, administrators, and support staff who truly play a vital and important role in our children’s education. The importance of their daily interactions with our children, can not be underestimated. And the way in which our staff has stepped up to work to meet the needs of our children is to be commended.

Schools’ Remote ‘eLearning’ Program Starts: Superintendent’s Suggestions on How to Start

Download PDF

Darien Public Schools on Tuesday started the remote, online eLearning program for students while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 epidemic, and the superintendent of schools has announced to parents and students how they can get prepared this day for when the program becomes mandatory on Wednesday. The full text of the announcement is published below, and below that the video of Monday night’s Board of Education meeting, which included some discussion of the eLearning program. Superintendent’s Announcement: Full Text
A link to this statement was emailed to district parents at 10:23 p.m., Monday:

March 16, 2020

Dear Families,

At the Emergency Board of Education Meeting this evening, the Board approved the administration’s request to submit a Waiver Application to the Connecticut State Department of Education. If you were watching this evening, perhaps you noticed that we received word during the meeting that the Connecticut State Department of Education is now planning to reduce the reporting requirements and is considering eliminating individual district applications for 180-day waivers. Things seem to change daily in this public health crisis.

Addley BoE 02-04-20

Board of Education Approves School District Applying to State for Minimum Education Days This School Year

Download PDF

The Darien school district eLearning program is expected to have some real-time, online teaching starting next week, and state officials seem to be saying that waivers won’t be required if districts don’t have 180 days of teaching in school buildings. That was some of what the Board of Education was told at a special meeting Monday night that was broadcast on Youtube but with the meeting room not open to the public. The meeting was originally called primarily to get the board’s approval for schools Superintendent Alan Addley to apply for the waiver. But even as the meeting was taking place, messages were coming in from the state Department of Education that seemed to indicate that the waiver was unnecessary. On Friday, Addley had announced that he would not apply for the waiver after getting advice from the education department that concerns about not being able to educate students in special education adequately would mean that the state wouldn’t allow online education to be counted as part of the legal mandate for 180 days of schooling.

Darien Public Schools

Schools ‘Likely’ Closed Longer Than Two Weeks; Board of Ed To Hold Special Meeting, 6:30 PM Monday

Download PDF

Schools will “likely” be closed for longer than two weeks as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, based on weekend communications with state officials, schools Superintendent Alan Addley said in an announcement emailed Sunday evening, along with a lot of other information about school services during the closure. Also, the Board of Education will hold an “emergency meeting” at 6:30 p.m. Monday (tonight) to get an update on “educational plans moving forward.” The meeting won’t be open to the public, but it will be broadcast live on Youtube, the board announced. The sense in which the board meeting is an “emergency” was unclear. The announcement did not describe any immediate threat to anybody or any additional reason (other than what’s already been made public) for an imminent health threat from either COVID-19 or anything else.

Darien Public Schools

Superintendent Provides Update Friday Morning on eLearning,Mandated School Days: Full Text, Analysis

Download PDF

Darien schools Superintendent Alan Addley told parents and district staff in an online message Friday morning that (1) the district’s eLearning program is entirely voluntary for students, (2) the program won’t count as a substitute for state-mandated school days, (3) although Governor Lamont waived the requirement that districts provide at least 180 days of schooling, that only applies if a district tries to meet the requirement, and (4) possibly for that reason, spring break from April 6 to 10 may be cancelled. Parts of Addley’s statement were difficult to understand. The full text of the statement is at the bottom of this article. Here’s our best attempt to explain it, and we’re going to attempt to get clarification from Addley or someone else in the district, then update this article. (1) the district’s eLearning program is entirely voluntary for students:
From the second-to-last paragraph:
These activities are voluntary and students are not required to participate.

Middlesex Middle School wikipedia 5-25-16

Darien Schools to Close for Two Weeks After Early Dismissal Thursday; Separately, Darien Library Announces Closure

Download PDF

Darien schools will close early, at 11 a.m., Thursday, and not reopen until Thursday, March 26, schools Superintendent Alan Addley announced in an email to parents Wednesday night and at a Board of Education meeting the same night. Separately, Darien Library also announced it will be closed “until further notice,” also as a step to prevent spread of COVID-19 in the community. “Today, the State Department of Health shared that the spread of the Coronavirus is not only imminent but is actively occurring across local communities,” Addley wrote. “While no Darien resident has been diagnosed with the Coronavirus, in an abundance of caution, the district is being proactive in its response to close schools in order to prevent the potential spread of the virus.” No academic, athletic or extracurricular activities at all will take place in the schools during the two-week closure—except for deep cleaning Addley wrote, “and school facilities may not be used for any event during the period of closure.”

Exclusion Guidelines for COVID-19 Exposure March 10 2020 Nursing Director letter

Schools Nursing Director Issues Rules Restricting Attendance for Students, Teachers at Risk of Spreading COVID-19

Download PDF

In one of two messages Tuesday night to parents and staff of Darien Public Schools, restrictions on attendance or even visiting schools were announced by the district’s Nursing Director, Alicia Casucci. “This communication provides you with travel and school exclusion guidelines for students, staff, families and visitors,” Casucci wrote in the March 10 message. “[T]he following district policies will take effect immediately for parents, students and staff.” The new rules say:

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms (“fever, coughing, shortness of breath”) is not allowed to be in school or at school events until a physician clears them to do so. Anyone within 6 feet, for a prolonged period, of someone with COVID-19, or anyone in contact with “secretions” (such as being coughed on) from someone with COVID-19 is also not allowed in school or at school events.

Addley BoE 02-04-20

School District Announces Additional Restrictions to Combat COVID-19

Download PDF

The Darien school district won’t sponsor any out-of-state travel for students or staff. In-state field trips, athletic or extra-curricular activities will have to have fewer than 100 participants, as will school gatherings of any kind. Space rented from the district can’t have more than 100 people in it. Those are the new restrictions announced by schools Superintendent Alan Addley at 10:02 p.m., Tuesday night to slow the spread of COVID-19 if it should enter the student body or staff of the district. Addley also pointed out that the state Department of Education is requiring school districts to get a waiver for distance learning programs put in place when schools are closed.

Darien Public Schools

Schools on Two-Hour Delay Wednesday As Staff Prepares Remote Learning for Possible School Closures

Download PDF

Darien schools will open two hours late on Wednesday to give teachers more time to prepare the district’s “eLearning” remote education program in case the COVID-19 coronavirus closes schools, parents were told in a 9:40 p.m., Monday email. “The staff has been working passionately and creatively to prepare remote learning experiences for our students and they be will appreciative of this small amount of time to assist them complete their work together,” school’s Superintendent Alan Addley said in the email. “Thank you for your understanding and flexibility as we navigate these unusual times together,” he wrote. See also: All Darien Library Events Canceled in Anti-Coronavirus Measure, Delivery Program Set Up (March 10)

Full Text of the Announcement
Here’s the full text of schools Superintendent Alan Addley’s email:

Good Evening Parents and Guardians:

As previously communicated, for the past two weeks the staff has been working diligently to prepare eLearning experiences for students in the event of school closures due to the Coronavirus. Please be advised that the district will be having a two-hour delayed opening on Wednesday, March 11 to provide the staff with a wee bit of dedicated professional learning time and a chance to finalize and share plans and preparations for eLearning.


Darien School District Superintendent, Nurse Announce COVID-19 Policies for Keeping Students and Staff Safe

Download PDF

The nursing director for Darien Public Schools sent an email to parents at 6:35 p.m., Friday, announcing policies for when students traveling abroad would have to wait to come back to school, along with several other safety policies related to the COVID-19 Coronavirus. In a separate letter sent at 5:27 p.m., Friday, Schools Superintendent Alan Addley told parents that the district would soon unveil an “eLearning Plan” for teaching students over the Internet if school buildings have to close down due to the epidemic. The long email from Alicia V. Casucci, the district’s director of nursing services, touched on several other subjects relating to combatting the spread of the epidemic. It provided more details on: cleaning procedures for schools to protect students against the virus; what teachers are doing to keep students from spreading any virus they might have; and what symptoms nurses would look at in deciding which students and staff would need to stay out of school. — This article was published at 9:05 p.m., Friday.

Susie Da Silva Twitter account

Where You Can Look Online to Find Out More on What Darien Public Schools are Teaching Students

Download PDF

Parents — and anyone else interested — are being invited to take a look at the school district’s many websites, online materials and Twitter accounts to find out more about how the district is teaching Darien children. Dr. Susie Da Silva, assistant superintendent of schools, on Wednesday wrote this email to parents with links to online resources (Twitter links added here by Darienite.com):

Dear Families,

We hope your school year is off to a great start!  Our transition back to school has been seamless~~ and we are thrilled to be in service to Darien students and families.  School-based leadership teams, curriculum leaders, teachers and students have been hard at work and look forward to sharing that work with you across many outlets. We encourage you to follow us social media, we are active on Twitter: @DPSLearns (@drmcgettigan, @DPSK12ELA, @DpsSocStudies, @Darien_Science, @OReillyKristin, @DPSWorldLang, @DPSMath, and many more) for quick snapshots of DPS learning. In addition to Twitter, please take a moment to view our parent websites.  You can find a wealth of information on each of our curriculum websites.  We pride ourselves on having our sites up to date and comprehensive, you can find our sites here: DPS Parent Websites. Secondary curriculum newsletters (linked below) will be sent out across the year and can also be found on our parent websites.  We hope you find them to be informative and useful.

Back to school

How Darien School Cafeteria Kitchens Fared in Recent Health Inspections

Download PDF

Here’s how all seven Darien public school cafeterias were rated in town Health Department inspections in September, released by the department on Thursday and last week. Darien’s school cafeterias typically get excellent ratings, and the inspections this month were no different. Each school received the town’s top rating (“A”), with one or two code violations. One school cafeteria — at Ox Ridge School — had a perfect 100 score, with no violations found. It’s common for one or two of the town’s schools to get a perfect score when the seven schools are inspected.